According to Ignacio Fernandez, the Commercial Director of ProChile in the United Kingdom, the bilateral association agreement with the United Kingdom approved by the Chilean Senate in 2019 in the framework of Brexit, contemplates the conditions of the existing Association Agreement (AA) between Chile and the European Union. Thus, Chilean exporters will continue to count on the benefits they have had since 2003 to gain preferential access to the British market.
"The agreement between Chile and the United Kingdom will be applied once the latter definitively leave the European Union. Basically, this agreement transforms what we had via the current agreement with the EU, i.e. the rules, rights, and obligations, into a bilateral agreement with the United Kingdom. As far as fresh fruit is concerned, things will be essentially the same. This also applies to plant protection and tariffs, among other issues,” Fernandez said.
Chile is a major exporter of organic products, such as fruit, to the United Kingdom. Regarding organic fruits and certifications, Fernandez said each company was responsible for having the corresponding international certifications needed to enter the United Kingdom. "This will operate in the same way it did under the Association Agreement with the EU."
He also said that this agreement can be improved over time. "The FTA between Chile and the United Kingdom has an evolutionary clause under which other matters may be incorporated into the bilateral relationship," he pointed out. This evolutionary clause of agricultural goods establishes that in two years (and every two years thereafter) the parties will review the situation of tariff liberalization for agricultural products and that they will be able to improve conditions and take full advantage of its wide potential.
According to figures from the Association of Fruit Exporters of Chile AG (ASOEX), in the 2018-2019 campaign, Chile exported 100,951 tons of fresh fruits to the United Kingdom, the second destination for Chilean fruits in Europe, with 18.2% of the total.
The main fruits shipped to England were: apples with 27.5% of the total shipped to that market, table grapes with 24.6%, avocados with 15.9%, blueberries with 10.4%, kiwis with 8 %, plums with 4.7%, nectarines with 2.5%, mandarins with 2.4%, cherries with 1.9%, and others with 2.4%.
According to information from ProChile, the commercial exchange between Chile and the United Kingdom in 2018 amounted to 1.36 billion dollars, i.e. 19% more than in the previous year.
In 2018, Chilean exports to the United Kingdom increased by 17% (685 million dollars) over the previous year. During the same period, imports increased by 21% (675 million dollars) compared to 2017.